Chris Dixon and Naval Ravikant — The Wonders of Web3, How to Pick the Right Hill to Climb, Finding the Right Amount of Crypto Regulation, Friends with Benefits, and the Untapped Potential of NFTs (#542)

Chris Dixon and Naval Ravikant — The Wonders of Web3, How to Pick the Right Hill to Climb, Finding the Right Amount of Crypto Regulation, Friends with Benefits, and the Untapped Potential of NFTs (#542)


Illustration via 99designs

“What the smartest people do on the weekends is what everyone else will do during the week in ten years.”
Chris Dixon

“Denying and pushing back against NFTs and crypto is basically saying: “We’re not going to have a collectively-owned future. We’re going to have a corporate-owned future, and we’re going to have a government-owned future.’”
Naval Ravikant

Chris Dixon (@cdixon) is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where for the past six years he has been an active seed and venture-stage investor.

Previously, Chris co-founded and served as the CEO of two startups, SiteAdvisor and Hunch. SiteAdvisor was an internet security company that warned web users of security threats. The company was acquired by McAfee in 2006. Hunch was a recommendation technology company that was acquired by eBay in 2011.

Chris has been a prolific seed investor, co-founding Founder Collective, a seed venture fund, and making a number of personal angel investments in various technology companies. Chris started programming as a kid and was a professional programmer after college at the high-speed options trading firm Arbitrade. He has a BA and MA in philosophy from Columbia and an MBA from Harvard.

He has written about his theories and experiences as an entrepreneur and investor on Medium and before that at cdixon.org. His a16z Podcast appearances can be found here.

Naval Ravikant (@naval) is the co-founder and chairman of AngelList. He is an angel investor and has invested in more than 100 companies, including many mega-successes, such as Twitter, Uber, Notion, Opendoor, Postmates, and Wish. You can subscribe to Naval, his podcast on wealth and happiness, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find his blog at nav.al.

For more Naval-plus-Tim, check out my wildly popular interview with him from 2015, which was nominated for “Podcast of the Year” at tim.blog/naval. We also had a second long-form conversation in 2020, and you can find that here. His most recent appearance was helping me interview Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform.

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#542: Chris Dixon and Naval Ravikant — The Wonders of Web3, How to Pick the Right Hill to Climb, Finding the Right Amount of Crypto Regulation, Friends with Benefits, and the Untapped Potential of NFTs


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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

Want to hear my most recent interview with Naval? Lend an ear to our conversation in which we discussed why there’s no such thing as science with a capital S, the problems that arise when jargon masquerades as knowledge, how to get rich without getting lucky, get-rich-quick schemes for losers, anxiety control, cryptocurrency (of course), and more.

#473: Naval Ravikant on Happiness, Reducing Anxiety, Crypto Stablecoins, and Crypto Strategy

  • Connect with Chris Dixon:

Website | Twitter | Medium | a16z

  • Connect with Naval Ravikant:

Website | Twitter | AngelList | Naval Podcast

SHOW NOTES

  • Chris explains his interest in philosophy and the advice given to him by philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett. [07:44]
  • How long is Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper? [11:05]
  • What the smartest people do on the weekend is what everyone else will do during the week in 10 years. How this has been true of the development of the personal computer, and how will this play out with blockchain technologies and cryptocurrency? [12:20]
  • The problems proof-of-work system Hashcash was created to solve, and how it was adopted by we know today as Bitcoin. [17:02]
  • What is the Byzantine Generals Problem, and how does it relate to decentralization? [19:36]
  • What are Web1, Web2, and Web3? [20:20]
  • Digital scarcity, open source, composability, and the real promise of Web3. [27:01]
  • What gives digital assets like altcoins and NFTs value? [41:53]
  • How Web3 rewards creative people in ways Web2 has only robbed them. [50:07]
  • How video games are adapting to the Web3 world. [55:45]
  • Naval expands on the idea of NFTs being more than the sum of their JPGs. [1:01:12]
  • The data science of Sorare. [1:04:28]
  • Don’t have a house to offer as collateral on that loan? Maybe the bank will accept your CryptoPunk. [1:06:16]
  • What Gall’s Law tells us about who will win in the battle between decentralized gaming and centralized gaming. [1:07:35]
  • How skeuomorphic design has been used in the past, and how it will fit into a Web3 world. [1:08:47]
  • A couple of recommendations to prepare you for Web3. [1:15:42]
  • Weaknesses of — and challenges presented by — Web3. [1:16:31]
  • What is hill climbing in computer science, and how can you be sure you’re not climbing the wrong one? [1:22:38]
  • You’re not late to the party (yet): decentralization is still in its early days. [1:26:41]
  • The sticky wicket of regulating decentralization with archaic laws designed to govern the world where our grandparents and great-grandparents grew up. [1:28:33]
  • How mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies is held back by the same political divides that are holding back society. [1:32:40]
  • How do novices — especially policymakers — even begin to wrap their minds around what’s going on in the world of crypto and separate signal from noise? [1:34:24]
  • Thoughts on decentralizing the American Dream to preserve the US as a bastion of innovation. [1:35:48]
  • Policymakers who seem to have the right idea about how to coexist with crypto, and what Chris and Naval think sensible regulation should look like. [1:41:24]
  • Streamlining philanthropy, fundraising, and production by blockchain. [1:47:08]
  • Where does Chris rate on the hierarchy of vices with his gum-chewing habit? [1:53:56]
  • Most gifted books. [1:55:04]
  • “Wen Tim Ferriss NFT drop?” [1:59:10]
  • How DAOs can serve communities, organizations, and governments in the real world. [2:00:09]
  • A disclaimer: do not take anything you hear on this episode as financial advice! Support the projects that genuinely appeal to you rather than trying to predict the future and cash out with a fistful of crypto. [2:03:54]
  • The lens through which Chris views NFTs. [2:07:57]
  • Further thoughts on motivations for participating in NFT markets. [2:09:07]
  • How the NFT market has finally made generative art profitable for the artists who create it, and why now may be the greatest time in history for creative people. [2:12:31]
  • Are we in “the kitchen recipe period” of NFTs? [2:16:04]
  • Still don’t get NFTs? Consider, instead, the humble sneaker. [2:19:21]
  • Vetting customers and ticketing with NFTs. [2:20:59]
  • Friends with Benefits and other spiffy DAOs. [2:22:11]
  • Parting thoughts. [2:25:03]

MORE CHRIS DIXON AND NAVAL RAVIKANT QUOTES FROM THE EPISODE

“We were told the internet is bad for creative people. The internet is not bad for creative people. Web2 is bad for creative people.”
— Chris Dixon

“Denying and pushing back against NFTs and crypto is basically saying, “We’re not going to have a collectively owned future. We’re going to have a corporate-owned future, and we’re going to have a government-owned future.’”
— Naval Ravikant

“As with all sorts of tech things and money involved, there are bad people. It’s just inevitable. It happened in the ’90s; it happened in the 2000s. It happens now. And those people give Web3 a very bad name. We want to get rid of those people.”
— Chris Dixon

“Where we started was we actually decentralized the hardest thing. The hardest thing to decentralize is money. And once you have money decentralized, then you can own private property.”
— Naval Ravikant

“The killer app of the internet is networks. We’ve got a million networks built on this thing now.”
— Chris Dixon

“Any regulator that stops the next generation of artists and musicians and gamers and game developers from owning their platforms and their work is going to go into the wastebasket of history as a villain. It’s that’s simple.”
— Naval Ravikant

“Step one will be: you take the existing artists and they get more money. Step two is you’re going to incentivize a whole new generation to go do these cool things.”
— Chris Dixon

“This should be the greatest time in history for creative people.”
— Chris Dixon

“I really believe very strongly that one of the most important things you can do is just go speak to a lot of people — that’s where I get all of my information is talking to entrepreneurs, talking to people that are smarter than me.”
— Chris Dixon

“I think Web3 is not only better for the world, but it’s also going to beat Web2; it’s going to be more popular because the people get really excited when they actually get to participate.”
— Chris Dixon

PEOPLE MENTIONED

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 700 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.





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